Hundreds of thousands of children worldwide are thought to be working full-time on tobacco farms, suffering from toxic levels of nicotine exposure and abusive labor conditions.
In Malawi alone there are an estimated 78,000 boys and girls employed in tobacco harvesting. On average they earn 17 cents for a 12-hour day of back-breaking, bare-handed work, according to a recent report from Plan International.
Handling burley tobacco leaves without gloves, in unwashed clothes and rarely bathing, these children can absorb the same amount of nicotine in one day of harvesting that they would from smoking 50 cigarettes.
"Sometimes it feels like you don't have enough breath...You reach a point where you cannot breathe because of the pain in your chest. Then the blood comes when you vomit. At the end, most of this dies and then you remain with a headache," the report quoted one child describing how he felt at the end of the day.
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